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    Nation bids farewell to princess

    HRH Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda 1925-2011

    Nation bids farewell to princess
    Funeral for charitable, music-loving Bejaratana

    Published: 9/04/2012 at 02:01 AMNewspaper section: News


    Thailand bids farewell to HRH Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda today, with three processions to escort her royal urn from Dusit Maha Prasart Throne Hall to the cremation pyre at Sanam Luang.

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    The royal cremation site of Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda glitters ahead of the ceremonial cremation, which will be presided over by Their Majesties the King and the Queen at 4.30pm today. PATIPAT JANTHONG

    A cast of thousands in full uniform will be in formation along the surrounding streets as Princess Bejaratana makes her final journey.

    The princess passed away from septicemia on July 27, 2011, aged 85.

    The day will begin at 7am when the royal urn is carried from Dusit Maha Prasart Throne Hall atop the royal golden palanquin to an area in front of Wat Phra Chetupon, or Wat Pho.

    There, the urn will be transferred to the Phra Maha Pichai Ratcharot, or royal chariot, for the one-and-a-half-hour procession to Sanam Luang.

    The chariot was built from gilded teak wood during the reign of King Rama I, and was used for the funeral of Her Royal Highness The Princess Mother and Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana. It weighs around 13 tonnes and requires 216 men to pull.

    The chariot will set off along Sanam Chai Road towards Ratchadamnoen Avenue.

    When it arrives at Sanam Luang, the urn will be returned to the palanquin for the third and final procession.

    The palanquin will circumnavigate the phra meru, or royal funeral pyre, three times, with each lap covering 260 metres, before the urn is placed on the pyre.

    Members of the public wishing to pay their respects may leave paper and sandalwood flowers for the cremation at 4pm at five points around Sanam Luang and at 46 temples in Bangkok.

    The ceremonial cremation will go ahead at 4:30pm, followed by the more private official cremation at 10pm and a programme of cultural events for the public through the night.

    The funeral is the culmination of about eight months of work by the Fine Arts Department and Religious Affairs Department, which allocated a budget of 218.1 million baht for the preparations and ceremony.

    Princess Bejaratana was the only child of King Vajiravudh, Rama VI, and Phra Nang Chao (Queen) Suvadhana.

    Her royal father, seriously ill at the time, passed away just one day after the princess was born, and it was her grandmother, Queen Savang Vadhana, who took the baby princess under her wing.

    The princess spent much of her formative years in the United Kingdom after the 1932 revolution which toppled the absolute monarchy and led to the abdication of her uncle, King Prajadhipok. By the time she returned to Thailand in 1959, her cousin, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, was on the throne.

    She spent the rest of her life at Ruenrudi Villa, working on behalf of various charitable organisations and projects that were established and initiated by her royal father as well as her grandmother, Queen Savang Vadhana, with her mother constantly by her side.

    Princess Bejaratana was a talented musician, blessed with skills that she no doubt inherited from her artistic parents. She loved classical music, and could play by ear.

    Music was a shared topic of interest for the princess and His Majesty the King whenever they met.

    HM the King has accorded the princess the highest honours for a princess of celestial level, signified by a seven-tiered umbrella of rank.

    Their Majesties the King and Queen, joined by members of the royal family, will preside over the ceremonial cremation at 4.30pm.

    The cremation proper, a more private affair, will take place at 10pm. For this, the royal urn will be removed and replaced with a sandalwood urn which will be set alight by HM the King.

    All through the night various forms of cultural entertainment will be provided in accordance with tradition dating back to the Ayutthaya period.

    From 7pm, there will be performances for the public stretching through the night until 6am, with a one-hour break during the official cremation.

    In front of the phra meru, the khon masked dance Nang Loy will be the traditional offering.

    Stage 1 at Phra Pin Klao Bridge will feature a Nang Yai shadow puppet show and the Ramayana masked dance.

    Stage 2 in front of the Supreme Court will feature the Phra Abhaimanee puppet show, a scene from Sakuntala, a play written by King Vajiravudh, and a traditional lakhon nok play based on the folk tale Sang Thong.

    Music will dominate Stage 3 in front of Thammasat University, with the CU Band from Chulalongkorn University, chorus from Santirat Institute of Business Administration and the Public Relations Department Band.

    Tomorrow, a ceremony will take place at 8am to collect the royal relics and ashes and move them to the Grand Palace for merit-making ceremonies. They will then be transferred to the Royal Mausoleum at Wat Ratchabophit on Thursday, winding up the four-day royal cremation ceremony.

    The pyre will be open to the public on Wednesday until next Tuesday.

    The crematorium is based on the one built for Princess Galyani Vadhana, but with a different styled top due to different royal honours, the Fine Arts Department said.

    It was designed by national artist and former Fine Arts Department director-general Avudh Ngernchoo-klin.

    ''It has been slightly reduced in size from the one that was used for Princess Galyani Vadhana, but it will uphold the highest honours available to Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda,'' he said.

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    Re: Nation bids farewell to princess

    Cremation of HRH Princess Bejaratana occurs today

    The Nation April 9, 2012 1:00 am


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    Prasert Thepsri

    Thailand is now observing a state of mourning, culminating in the cremation today of Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana, the only child of King Rama VI.

    The cremation ceremony started yesterday with mourners wearing black to pay their last respects to Princess Bejeratana, who passed away at the age of 85 last July.

    In the evening, HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, on behalf of His Majesty the King, performed a Buddhist meritmaking ceremony dedicated to the late princess at the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall within the Grand Palace.

    Also present at the rite were HRH Princess Chulabhorn Valayalaksana and HRH Princess Somsavali.

    The Cabinet has declared today as a special holiday.

    The royal cremation will be staged in public at Sanam Luang according to longpractised protocol, presenting a rare and precious sight for all visitors.

    Free shuttle buses will transport mourners from key spots such as Victory Monument to areas near Sanam Laung today, as traffic will be heavily restricted.

    Grand ceremony

    Besides the grand ceremony at Sanam Laung, mourners can bid a final farewell to the Princess at 46 temples across Bangkok.

    The royal proceedings will also be televised live, Public Relations Department chief Thirapong Sodasri said.

    All government agencies, state enterprises and educational institutions are flying the national flag at halfmast for the three days of mourning that started yesterday.

    Their Majesties the King and Queen are scheduled to attend the royal cremation for Princess Bejaratana at Sanam Luang today.

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    Re: Nation bids farewell to princess

    HRH PRINCESS BEJARATANA
    The Royal Cremation proceeds

    THE NATION


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    Photo : Suphakit Khumkun

    April 9, 2012 10:07 am

    The procession to transfer the remains of Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana from Dusit Maha Prasart Throne Hall to the Royal Crematorium at the Sanam Luang ceremonial ground commenced at about 9.30am.

    The royal cremation of Princess Bejaratana, the only daughter of King Rama VI started at 7am.

    The royal cremation took place more than eight months after the princess passed away on July 27, 2011.

    HRH Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn represented HM the King in the event.

    The royal urn is transferred upon the Golden Palanquin with Three Poles (Phra Yannamas Sam Lamkhan) from the Grand Palace, with the procession of honor to the Royal Great Victory Carriage (Phra Maha Phichai Ratcharot) in front of Wat Phra Chetuphon (Wat Pho).

    The Crown Prince and Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn accompanied the royal urn to the Elevated Royal Hall in front of Wat Phra Chetuphon. The procession then proceeded to transfer the royal urn to the Royal Crematorium at Sanam Luang.

    The symbolic royal cremation takes place at 4.30pm at the Royal Crematorium, when Their Majesties the King and Queen and members of the Royal Family attend the ceremony.

    Their Majesties the King and Queen and members of the Royal Family will proceed to the Royal Crematorium again at 10pm for the actual royal cremation.

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    Re: Nation bids farewell to princess

    Thais join royal cremation of Princess
    Published: 9/04/2012 at 07:01 PMOnline news: Local News

    People from every corner of the country clad in black and white on Monday gathered at Siriraj Hospital waiting to see His Majesty the King emerge to preside over the ceremonial cremation of Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda.

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    Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda

    HRH Princess Bejaratana was the only child of King Rama VI. She died from a blood infection on July 27 last year at the age of 85.

    Around 4.20pm, His Majesty left the hospital to preside over the royal cremation which took place opposite the hospital at Sanam Luang.

    Along the route, thousands of people were sitting saying "Long Live the King" and waving flags when the procession passed.

    Since morning the number of mourners grew steadily even though it was raining.

    They came not only from Bangkok and its adjoining areas, but also from many other provinces.

    Alyara Chuawongsakun, a Ratchaburi native, took a one-hour train ride to the capital and brought materials to make sandalwood flowers with her.

    Without knowing each other before, 10 women formed a group and sat in the hospital's grounds to make sandalwood flowers which were given free to passers-by.

    "It is once in a lifetime for me to do something to show my respect to the late Princess," the 63-year-old mourner said.

    However, it was not her first time making sandalwood flowers for royal occasions. She did it during the funeral of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana, who passed away on Jan 2, 2008.

    Sa-ngad Moonkhumtod, 56, took a bus from her hometown in Nakhon Ratchasima early in the morning in the hope of seeing HM the King and to bid a farewell to the late Princess.

    Accompanied by her daughter and elder sister, they came to place sandalwood flowers at the Sanam Luang site and then took a boat, which was free yesterday, to the hospital in the hope of seeing the King.

    "I want to see the King with my own eyes once, not only on a television," she said while making sandalwood flowers at the hospital.

    "I have learnt to make them for the first time here as I feel I should do something to show respect and love to the Princess for the last time," she said.

    Panida Sachana, 66, and a friend of the same age took a boat from Nonthaburi to witness the royal procession at 6am.

    "It is so beautiful and splendid. I am so proud of it -- other countries do not have such a traditional ceremony," she said.

    After that, she and her friend decided to go home to see the funeral cremation on television instead because she said she would be able to see the whole ceremony clearer and more closely.

    Boonlua Seepia, 70, and her daughter, Rungpetch Pangsan, 44, said they spent five hours on a train from Sa Kaeo's Aranyaprathet to be a part of the ceremony and pay a final tribute to the late Princess.

    "We are glad to be here. The procession in the morning was very beautiful and memorable. We don't get many chances to see something like this," Mrs Boonlua said after offering sandalwood flowers to Her Royal Highness at a floral niche at Sanam Luang.

    Master Sgt First Class Thepprasit Aiyawan, who fired the royal salute, said getting the chance to do it was a honour for his family and himself.

    Sinchai Pateetin, 63, whose son is an air force man who also got to fire the salute, said he was very happy and proud of his son.

    Orawan Saetang, 57, is a fan of royal ceremonies. She said whenever there was a royal ceremony she never missed it because she wanted to show love and support to the King.

    "The King has sacrificed his entire life for us. I, as a Thai person, am always present at royal ceremonies because I want to encourage him and show him that Thai people never forget his royal grace and we still love him very much," Ms Orawan said.

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    Re: Nation bids farewell to princess

    Final farewell to late princess
    The Nation April 10, 2012 1:00 am


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    Mourners attend inspiring royal cremation ceremony of HRH princess bejaratana

    Thais nationwide, dressed in the mourning colours of black and white, bid their last goodbye to Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda - the only child of King Rama VI - in an inspiring royal cremation ceremony yesterday at Bangkok’s Sanam Luang and televised live through a TV pool.

    Although it rained in the afternoon, mourners continued to wait in line to place fragrant sandalwood flowers at three pavilions in the north of the Sanam Luang. Fortysix Bangkok temples as well as other upcountry temples also held the sandalwood flower tribute simultaneously.

    The royal cremation of Princess Bejaratana, which took place more than eight months after the princess passed away on July 27, 2011, began early yesterday at 7am. HRH Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn represented HM the King at the event.

    Although the procession commenced around 9.30am, many people had camped along the procession's route from 5am to pay their respects to the late princess.

    The royal urn with the late princess' remains was transferred to the Golden Palanquin with Three Poles (Phra Yannamas Sam Lamkhan) from the Dusit Maha Prasart Throne Hall in the Grand Palace. The first procession of honour was to the Royal Great Victory Carriage (Phra Maha Phichai Ratcharot), which was parked in front of Wat Phra Chetuphon (Wat Pho).

    The second procession of honour with the royal urn borne on the Royal Great Victory Carriage progressed to the Royal Crematorium at Sanam Luang. The third procession of honour then conveyed the royal urn to the Golden Palanquin with Three Poles circling counterclockwise three times around the crematorium, before carrying the urn to the royal funeral pyre.

    Their Majesties the King and Queen and members of the Royal Family attended the symbolic royal cremation at 5:30pm and then proceeded to the Royal Crematorium at 10pm for the actual royal cremation.

    As part of this great event, the Culture Ministry presented various public performances in the evening on three openair stages, from 7pm yesterday until 6am on April 10, a total of 10 hours. The stage performances would stop during the actual royal cremation. The Khon traditional Thai drama of Nong Loy was presented in a special performance by the traditional offering in front of the crematorium.

    The first stage near Phra Pinklao Bridge featured the Nhang Yai great shadow plays with the Khon traditional Thai drama about the Ramayana Epic.

    The second stage near the Supreme Court featured the Phra Abhaimanee puppet show, a scene from a Sakuntala play written by King Rama VI called Sakuntala, and a traditional Lakhon Nok drama featuring the folk tale of Sangthong. The plays were performed by artists from Fine Arts Department's Office of the Music And Drama as well as from 12 colleges of dramatic arts nationwide and the Bunditpatanasilpa Institute.

    The third stage in front of Thammasat University featured singing performances by the Chulalongkorn University Band, Public Relations Department Band as well as the chorus from the Santirat Institute of Business Administration.

    The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha is closed today to make way for the ceremony of collecting the royal relics and ashes and procession to the Grand Palace. Tomorrow, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha will close from 1pm onwards to make way for the religious ceremony for the royal relics, while the temple will close on Thursday for the royal relics enshrining ceremony.

    As the Cabinet had agreed, the Thai public wore mourning black and the state offices, enterprises and schools flew the national flag at halfmast until today.

    The royal cremation ceremonial ground will be open from tomorrow until next Tuesday, for the public to admire the Thai traditional craftsmanship, arts and culture through the specially built crematorium and surrounding buildings, including the Royal MeritMaking Pavilion (Phra Thinang Songtham).

    The public can learn about the Princess's life and works at the permanent exhibition at Sanam Chan Palace.

    The only child of King Rama VI and HRH Princess Suvadhana, Royal Consort of King Rama VI, HRH Princess Bejaratana was born on 24 November 1925 at the Grand Palace. The King died one day after her birth.

    In her early childhood, the princess attended Bangkok’s Rajini School until age 13. She then moved to England during World War II with her mother to further her education before moving back to Thailand in 1957. The princess was a gifted individual, particularly with numbers, being able to calculate promptly which day of the week dates would fall, indicated in a calendar covering 300400 years.

    She started her royal duties when her life became settled. Her main duties included continuing the legacy of her father in scouts activities for boys and girls, giving out scholarships and partaking in school activities, as well as being a patron of public social welfare, religion, and the military services. The Princess Bejaratana passed away on 27 July 2011 from a blood infection at the age of 85.

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    Re: Nation bids farewell to princess

    Thousands pay last respects to beloved royal
    King, Queen lead cremation ceremony


    Published: 10/04/2012 at 02:33 AMNewspaper section: News


    Their Majesties the King and Queen yesterday joined thousands of mourners from all over the country and a worldwide television audience in bidding farewell to Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda.

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    His Majesty the King sets ablaze a sandalwood flower before laying it under the royal urn housing the remains of Her Royal Highness Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda. PALACE PHOTO

    The late princess, who passed away at the age of 85 on July 27, 2011, was cremated at Sanam Luang after a day of ceremony including three processions joined by HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn and HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

    The day began at 7am with the first procession, which carried the royal urn from Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall to the front of Wat Phra Chetupon, or Wat Pho, atop the royal golden palanquin. There, the urn was transferred to the royal chariot.

    In the second procession, the chariot carried the urn to Sanam Luang along Sanam Chai Road.

    Finally, the urn was returned to the golden palanquin at Sanam Luang for the third and final procession _ three 260m laps of the phra meru, or royal funeral pyre.

    At the moment the urn was installed in the pyre, heavy rainfall descended on the streets which had stayed dry throughout the processions.

    The symbolic royal cremation took place later at 4.30pm following the arrival of Their Majesties the King and Queen. It was attended by members of the royal family, the diplomatic corps, courtiers and high-ranking members of the government and the armed forces.

    Fifty senior monks conducted prayers in the Song Dhamma Pavilion, west of the phra meru.

    Their Majesties the King and Queen then ascended the phra meru to preside over the symbolic royal cremation against the sound of a 21-gun salute.

    They placed sandalwood flowers under the royal urn, which was installed on a stand decorated with flowers and intricately carved kluay tanee banana tree stalks by master craftsmen from Phetchaburi province.

    The royal cremation proper took place at 10pm, again presided over by Their Majesties the King and Queen.

    Following the tradition of old, a Ramayana masked dance performance took place during the cremation, telling the story of Nang Loy, which was penned by King Vajiravudh. More than 50 dancers from the Fine Arts Department took part in the performance, which lasted almost two hours.

    Dance and music performances stretched through the night at three public stages around Sanam Luang.

    The grand spectacle of the cremation ceremony was eight months in the making under the responsibility of the Fine Arts Department and Religious Affairs Department with a budget of 218.1 million baht.

    The farewell to Princess Bejaratana followed in the proud tradition of past royal funerals.

    The magnificent royal chariot which carried the urn from Wat Pho to Sanam Luang was built in 1795 during the reign of King Rama I. It has transported the royal urns of five Chakri kings (from King Rama I to King Rama V) as well as high-ranking members of the royal family, most recently HRH The Princess Mother in 1996 and HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana in 2009.

    The beautifully crafted phra meru, which stands 35.59m tall, took three months to build and symbolises Phra Sumeru mountain, the abode of the gods in Hindu belief. Its completion was marked last Friday by the raising of the royal seven-tiered umbrella of rank.

    The pyre, designed by national artist Air Marshal Arvuth Ngernchuklin, is surrounded by images of deities, while the surrounding gardens represent the Himmavanta forest, filled with mythical creatures.

    Crimson marigolds _ the princess's favourite flower _ created a bright carpet around the phra meru.

    Thousands of people travelled from all around the country to witness the royal ceremony and to pay their last respects to the princess, the only child of King Vajiravudh.

    National television broadcast the three processions live through the morning and then the ceremonial cremation in the late afternoon.

    More than 170 countries around the world also broadcast footage of the event.

    At 8am today, HRH Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will preside over the ceremony to collect the royal relics and ashes, which will then be returned to the Grand Palace for merit-making ceremonies.

    Tomorrow, the royal relics will be placed in the Royal Mausoleum at Wat Ratchabophit.

    The phra meru will be opened for public viewing from tomorrow until next Tuesday.

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